Annie Steele Photography » Wedding Photography, Chicago, Illinois

Ask Annie Anything: Destination Weddings

The beach.  The culture.  Flying to an exotic destination where you will become married is just an amazing thing.   I often times am asked how I get to go to such beautiful places to take beautiful pictures of beautiful people.  If you are thinking about having a destination wedding, or if you are photographer; this post is for you.

Almost 10 years ago, Peter and I were married under a little gazebo with a thatched roof by a spanish speaking Judge overlooking Dominican Republic’s turquoise waters and white, sugary sand.  We were young and barefoot, so in love, and were getting married the exact way we wanted to.  Some friends and family that could join us were there, and it was 14 days of my life that I will never, ever forget.  Sadly, not because of all the pictures, but because of the memories.

When I was planning our wedding, the resort wedding planner and I communicated via email.  She made it easy and simple, and we just needed to write the check.  She explained to me, I would choose the exact location on the property, my flower colors, the photography package I wanted, and the restaurant where we wanted our reception the wedding evening once we got to the resort.  By far, the most stressful part of it all was getting all the paperwork and documentation turned in and practically give our DNA samples.

Mind you, I was not a Photographer 10 years ago.  I was almost 23 years old with a love of photography, not much money in the bank, and was going to purchase a photography package at the resort.  Once we got to the resort, a 30 minute meeting with the planner, my mom & sister, and a bottle of bubbly; everything was decided.  We would be married under a gazebo, my flowers would be red and orange, I would get 74 pictures from the ceremony ($900 for 5×7 prints and digital images), and the dinner reception would be held at the beach house.

On our wedding day, as I got ready, I snapped shots of my dress hanging in the patio door, our rings WITH A 35MM (for those that don’t understand this, the rings had to be very far away to be in focus), and my mom and sister as they got ready beside me.  My trusty $70 camera was the beginning of my love of telling stories.  Later that day, the resort photographer snapped pictures of our 15 minutes ceremony, and then 30 minutes after the ceremony to get family portraits, and some posed pictures of Peter and I.  A few days later, I received my package, and those were my wedding pictures.

This post is not about my wedding day 10 years ago, but rather a way to educate future brides and grooms getting married the unconventional way.  If you want 74 staged pictures, wonderful– the resort photographer who shoots automatic with flash is waiting at the photo desk for you in the lobby.  If you want your wedding day to tell a story about your love, want pictures of your genuine smile so every time your husband looks at the photo he can hear your laugh he fell in love with, have a wedding photographer who keeps the day happy and trouble shoots to get you amazing pictures when it rains the entire day, and want to remember your dad dancing exactly like the guy in the music video to Gangham Style… find a Photographer you truly love, and take them with you!  I promise you, the one tangible thing you will have from your Wedding Day are your photographs.

Since many Photographers do love to travel (raising hand), many times they will give you a great rate on either travel or a package.  WHY? Because if where you are going is a place they want to go to; trust me, they will make it happen!

This month, we were fortunate to photograph 3 Destination Weddings for 3 amazing couples.  Florida, Mexico, and back to a different part of beautiful Florida.  It may sound glamorous, but it is a lot of work and I’m grateful for all the people and help to make the day look so effortless.  Both on a personal and business level.

And because every post is better with a picture, here are some recent images from our Destination Wedding in Cozumel, Mexico…

Let’s talk about this amazing dress…

This is called destination style swagger…


Vel and Matt chose to see each other before the ceremony, and I’m so glad they did (overlooking the Caribbean Ocean)

You two are stunning…

This moment of beautiful laughter was captured under a roof.  Vel and Matt’s wedding day was beautiful, but it rained all day long, on and off.  They were laughing together as it started to pour once again en route to their beach ceremony.

The skies opened up and the rain miraculously stopped for a good hour.  They were married barefoot in the sand, on the beach….

This couple.  <3

The party was moved inside as it rained the entire night.

The day was beautiful from start to finish…

More from this Wedding will be featured on the BLOG in the coming weeks!   Make sure to come back to see this of-so gorgeous wedding day!

If you have any questions regarding Destination Weddings, leave your questions below and I will do my best to answer them! Have a wonderful day from sunny Florida! xoxo


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